Rapid Evolution Saved This Fish From Pollution, Study Says By joanna Klein

Summary of Article: In New Jersey, toxic leftovers from the manufacture of chemicals like DDT and the infamous Agent Orange oozed into surrounding waterways to be taken up by the animals that inhabited them. A species of fish, the Atlantic Killifish survived. The the 1990's, scientists found that they were actually toxic-tolerant. A new study found that over just a few decades, distinct populations of Killifish independently developed similar genetic adaptations that make life possible in the most unlikely environments. The findings show that evolution doesn’t have to start in one place to be repeated. These findings went a log way to help scientists trying to figure out how animals adapt to rapidly changing environments.

Orange Atlantic Killifish Swimming in the Water

Analysis of the Article: The point of the article is that figuring out the way animals adapt to quickly changing environments has many implications. In some ways, new studies have shown that keeping genetic diversity high is necessary to preserve species during global warming. Scientists have found Killifish that survive levels of pollution up to 8,000 times the lethal dose. In order for a species to survive, they must carry the mutations that will help them live on. Many scientists are taking these findings as meaning that nature will find solutions for itself. Klein says that because these Killifish can do it, and there’s probably many species out there that can respond in this particular manner, but there’s probably going to be lots of species out there that can’t. adaptations typically come at a cost. The story of evolution predicts that once the water becomes clean, a tolerant fish won’t do as well as a sensitive fish. Joanna Klein then brings up the question: what’s the consequence of turning off this pathway, which is responsible for dealing with toxicity at less extreme levels? Scientists need to figure they out before they alter the evolution of any species.

A Group Of Atlantic Killifish Swimming in the Sea


New studies are showing that optimal genetic diversity will help species thrive for years. In smaller populations with less diversity, the chance that a rare mutation like this already exists is slim: Evolution is put on hold until that mutation develops. Not all species are as capable of evolving as the Killifish, and scientists have become seemingly attracted to the idea of inserting these lucky mutations into their population in order to preserve the lifespan of the species. However, Joanne Klein clearly states that altering the evolutionary patterns of these animals may cause chaos in a clean ecosystem. The success of the Atlantic Killifish is very informing on the survival of mutated animals, but we must figure out the implications of putting more mutations into a population.

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